Tough rules enforced as KCSE 2016 kicks off

The 2016 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) written examinations kicked off on Tuesday morning with 577,253 candidates sitting for their high school exit exams in 9,158 centres across the country.

Education CS Fred Matiang’i commissioned the national examinations at Murang’a County headquarters 5am and later toured the Murang’a High School.

The CS exuded confidence that unlike in the 2015 examination, this year’s exercise will be free of irregularities that have dogged the education sector over the years.

“We have spent so much of our time and resources to ensure that nothing goes wrong. We have gone back and forth on our planning and trained most of our officers,” he said.

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Matiang’i reiterated his warning against examination cheating, saying that any incident would be countered ruthlessly.

“We are not going to forgive some of those so-called mistakes. Should there be any effort to cheat or any mistake, it will be met with the ruthlessness it requires,” Matiangi added.

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) CEO Nancy Macharia led the early morning exercise at the Nairobi School where she stressed adherence to a new regulation banning use of any electronic gadgets (including watches) in examination rooms.

“Security agents are out looking for those with weird plans. We are doing this to bring integrity in our exams,” she said.

In Bungoma, where a total of 24,478 candidates are sitting the examinations, a spot check in several schools revealed the process was on schedule with county director of education Charles Anyika confirming the centres had received papers in good time.

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Last year, 5,101 out of 525,802 candidates had their results withheld due to involvement in examination irregularities in an exercise where Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) was under pressure to cancel over leakage claims.

This was a 70% increase as compared to the 2014 exam.

In May, 2016, CS Matiang’i abolished mid-term breaks, prayers and visiting days during the third school term among other measures by the Ministry to bring credibility to national examinations.

Read on: DP Ruto gives Ministry one month to deal with exam cheats

The Ministry also effected changes in the school calendar, extending the Second Term while reducing the August holiday to 2 weeks and ensuring continuing students aren’t in school during national examinations.

While these measures were met with sharp criticism by various Education stakeholders, the changes prevailed with the Ministry hoping to reduce the incidents.

Nairobi, Meru and Makueni counties registered the highest number of irregularities with only Isiolo being the only county with no single case of exam malpractice.

Section 27 of the KNEC Act No. 29 of 2012 prescribes a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or a fine not exceeding Ksh.2 million or both for anyone who gains access to examination material and knowingly reveals the contents orally or in writing, to an unauthorized party.

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Story By Eric Ndubi
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